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27 Nov 2017

Irit Tamir, Oxfam America, Business and Human Rights Journal

Commentary: States should provide financial resources to local communities to strengthen access to remedy

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"Empowering Communities as a Strategy for Holding Corporates Accountable", 25 Nov 2017

...[A]nother strategy for gaining access to remedy is to empower affected communities by providing more financial resources and requiring the participation in human rights due diligence laws. Local communities are at the forefront of investment projects but too often face a power imbalance with the key stakeholders: companies and government...At the same time, focus is often on companies with an expectation for them to engage in due diligence processes. But companies face several constraints, such as time and lack of cultural knowledge that limit their ability to conduct meaningful consultations with local communities and marginalized groups.

To overcome these challenges, it is crucial to empower communities to enable them to participate in decisions affecting their lives...[T]o talk about meaningful consultation, a key element must be in place: communities need capacity and resources to engage in such a consultation...A fund should be established to support community-based organizations working directly with local communities. This fund would be used to develop local capacities in terms of human rights and business...[and] allow the implementation of consultation processes that would be both inclusive and meaningful. Funds could be established nationally, by sectors and globally...